PSA will take aim at anti-gay bullying

8:59 AM, Oct 25, 2010   |    comments
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A man from Denver is recovering after he says he and his two friends were attacked because they're gay. William Babcock, 24, told 9NEWS a group of six men made anti-gay slurs before attacking them.

The incident happened around 2:00 a.m. Friday at a 7-Eleven on the corner of 3rd and Broadway. Babcock's jaw was broken, and his friend has a concussion. Denver Police say they're taking this case seriously and reviewing surveillance video from the store to try and track down the attackers.

Several members of the gay community say they're outraged after hearing of anti-gay violence in Denver. 9NEWS spoke with some of them on Sunday afternoon during the production of an anti-bullying public service announcement.

The "It Gets Better" PSA features men and women who are used to being on stage, many of the Denver theatre community's elite. But the PSA captures these actors as themselves, showing a vulnerability that not even the best actor can fake.

"I was followed home about once a week and beaten up," Paul Page, a professional actor in Denver, said.

The president of the Denver Center for Performing Arts, Randy Weeks, says, "I came out in 1973 when I was in high school."

Zachary Page, 18, is the director and the mastermind behind gathering the near fifty heavy hitters in the Denver theatre community.

"I'm straight, and I have gay family members," Page said.

From its conception to production, the shoot happened in four days.

Denver's top actors and producers say they showed up because they say something needs to be done. With more and more people coming out, they say they've also seen an increase of bullies that don't accept it.

"It was really easier when gay people were just really living in the closet and being very quiet and behaving. It made it easier for everybody to say you don't exist," Weeks said.

Denver Playwright and Director Terry Dodd says they're not looking for special treatment.

"All we're aiming for ultimately is equal rights," Dodd said.

The only way they say to stop the bullying is to send a bold message back in solidarity.

"I'm hoping that if enough people speak out and the voice gets loud enough and gets shared on enough levels," Page said. "We can only hope."

Dodd encourages people who are gay to not give up hope.

"Hold firm, reach out, find someone that you can talk to, because to borrow the phrase, 'It gets better,'" Page said.

The PSA will air on YouTube. Zachary says he plans to pitch it to local television stations as well.

(KUSA-TV © 2010 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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